I’m a new fan of…

I’ve visited others’ blog sites this past week, and found some with which I really want to stay connected, so I’m following them!  It’s an important part of having a blog – participating in the larger blogging community. Some of them, like me, started both WordPress Blogging University courses at the same time – Blogging 101 and Photo101.

Here, I’ve listed the title of the blog, the url, and a little bit about what they’re about – check them out, and don’t hesitate to follow them too!

18-200 MM – 18200mmview.wordpress.com – a photo journal – wow, I have lots to learn! Such beautiful posts!

Awesome Bible Study and Devotions – biblestoriesfromtheheart.com – a weekly Bible Study, using a lesson, an art activity, a reflective writing, and discussion questions. Lessons come out on Mondays, so I’m starting tomorrow (6-15-15).

Me Talks! – metalks.wordpress.com – from a young woman who is just beginning her blogging adventure!

One More Voice – robinseaton1960.wordpress.com – from a woman who loves Jesus, God’s Word, and photography!

Strangevegetables – strangevegetables.wordpress.com – written by a Christian wife and homeschooling mom who writes about what she sees and thinks and is happening in her life, which changes daily of course!

The River Walk – tworiversblog.com – a daily devotional, walking with another as we walk with Christ.

The Serendipitous Sabbatical – theserendipitoussabbatical.wordpress.com – a woman who loves God and likes to write down her thoughts!

Wild Currents – wildcurrentsblog.wordpress.com – a woman with a psychiatric service dog who writes to fight against the stigma of mental illness and for mental health and wellness!

Advertisements

Haiku

writing 2-0-1
depression in poetry
wordpress blogging class

a challenge for me
like putting on mascara –
easier not to!

how to define it
in only seventeen taps
as I count it off:

dark clouds that descend
bury hope, reason and me.
i am lost inside;

there is no way out.
then a beam of light pierces;
friends tell me “Hold on!”

Jesus is with me.
His Presence is always here.
He never leaves me.

i might not feel Him
but His Word promises me
i am not alone.

He covers me like
a shower in the springtime:
gentle, warm, peaceful.

He pours His hope to
fill my soul with His Light and
gives me peace and rest.

the darkness will turn
to clouds lifting to show me
the clear skies revealed.

Florida, here we come…yet still waiting

I haven’t posted for a few days – life got crazy as we took our son back to college and then came down to FL to find a home. Yep, I think it’s finally going to happen – we really are going to move.

For me, all of 2014 was waiting for the move to FL.  We’d known for a couple of years that the move to corporate headquarters was going to be in Fall 2014. I anticipated, I worried, I planned, I imagined, I worried some more. Typical with depression, I catastrophized – worst case scenario kind of thing. I kept thinking I understood the timing, but the move kept getting delayed – from April to November, I was wrong every time I thought the timing was right.

The truth is, I was not ready. God had to teach me to wait on Him, that He knows best, and that I need to trust more and assume less. God allowed me to have time in the desert – waiting, learning to trust, learning to follow Him – so that when it was time – His time – I was ready. Like Moses, waiting 40 years before God called him to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land. Like David, waiting 20 years from the time he was anointed king to the time he became king over all of Israel. Waiting does not come naturally. It’s hard. Really hard.

Waiting for months in uncertainty really brought me close to another depressive episode. I was waking in the middle of the night, even though I take meds for that. I was on the verge of tears all the time. A sadness ran under everything I was experiencing. I didn’t really care about eating. I would cry if I thought at all about my current situation, and cry when I thought about how my situation was going to change. My psych doc said that I was on the precipice of an episode, with a lasso tied around me, ready to be jerked back into the valley of depression if one more thing was added to the pile I was buried under (besides the waiting, I had 3 life-changing events last year, but that’s for a different post). We increased one of my meds – seems to have helped. At least the undercurrent of sadness is relieved. I still am dealing with some anxiety, which means learning to trust God more.

This is my third trip to FL that has included house hunting. And I’m praying that God will lead us to exactly where He wants us. Like Moses said,

 “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15)

I want to be where God wants me to be. So while my husband and I look for our new home, we enjoy the sights of this beautiful area (I took this picture last night on a beach in Naples, FL) , and wait for God to give us His Presence and peace when we find that place He wants us to be.

image

I love the desert analogies from Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On by Stormie Omartian and from various writings of Charles Swindoll.

This post was inspired by the Daily Prompt : https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/moment-in-time/

 

Community & Connections

I really like writing in a blog, even though I just started. It’s different from writing in my journal. Most of those thoughts are written with no particular reader in mind. I could be angry and venting it all out on paper. I sometimes write out my prayers – for help or of gratitude. I might be feeling sad or lonely and wondering if it’s depression again. I make lists of things to discuss with my therapist. But my journal is mine.

Something that I didn’t know before I started this thing called blogging is about the blogging community itself. I hadn’t really understood how much support there is in the blogging world – writers are so encouraging of each other! I feel a tickle of delight when someone says something nice in the comment section. It’s amazing how constructive comments can affirm or challenge my writing – sometimes pushing me to rethink a topic or dig deeper. These things are good! I hope they will help me improve my writing. And it’s nice to connect to others who might share the same topic but a different story.

Depression doesn’t bring community and connections. It brings isolation, loneliness, the absolute assurance that I’m the only one in the world hurting like this. Depression, like a big dark cloud, wants to settle over me, push me down – maybe push me back under the bedcovers. It wants me to be alone. It often convinces me that I have nothing to offer anyone, so I might as well stay at home. It slows down my thinking. It redirects my focus so that I’m looking down at myself, not up.

If I can remember to look up, to turn my face towards Jesus, then He reminds me that I’m not alone.

for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!], Hebrews 13:5b, AMP

It’s hard to do, to look up, to call out “Help me, Jesus!” Actually, Jesus is the One who helps me look up, helps me call out His name. And if I’m listening, I’ll hear Him remind me that He’s right there with me. I can connect with Him. I can be in communion with Him. And many times, He points me to my friends, my community of fellow Christ followers. There, I can share my burdens (Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ., Galatians 6:2, NASB) , and they support and encourage and pray for me. Connected with Christ and in a community of Christ followers; I am not alone.

 

Which mental illness comes first?

One of the coolest things about blogging is that there are plenty of people writing about depression, or anxiety, or being a Christ follower, or maybe all of the three at the same time. But we each say it with our own story, in our own voice, and in that way we encourage each other.

I was reading a fellow blogger’s post about feeling alone and the vicious cycle of depression and anxiety -you can find her at https://frostedsmiles.wordpress.com. She said,

“Personally, I feel as though my depression and anxiety issues are the main components of my vicious circle; my depression is underlying and feeds into my anxieties, and feeling anxious makes me feel low and depressed, and so on.”

It got me to thinking about my first appointment with my first psychiatrist.  It was over 7 years ago. My therapist determined that I had gone from Adjustment Disorder to Major Depressive Disorder, and it was time to see a doctor and try some medication. Therapy alone wasn’t cutting it. I arrived at my therapist’s office, the doc took appointments there – it was dark outside and late fall, so maybe 6:00pm. A migraine was just starting – I didn’t know it was going to be a bad one. The doctor came out and escorted me back to his office. My first thought was, “Hey, I think this furniture used to be in my therapist’s office.” He pointed to the couch for me to sit, and he sat in the matching chair – perpendicular to me. He took off his glasses and cleaned them. He asked me some general questions – why are you here to see me? tell me a little bit about your meetings with the therapist, etc. As he was listening, my headache started intensifying. And then I found it hard to hear him – like he was talking with his mouth full of cotton balls. When I looked up at him (I was mostly looking at my lap) he looked like he was beyond a waterfall. My mind drifted, and I had to really focus to hear him through the water or even understand the questions through the cotton. He asked me if I felt ashamed. I had no idea what he meant. Then he started in on the psychological definition of shame, pulled out a book to reference, and showed me…something. I didn’t hear what he said next; I was trying to figure out if I was ashamed or just super sad or very anxious and why won’t my head stop pounding?!

And then he asked, “So are you depressed or anxious?” I wanted to hit him! Now, I’m not a violent person in any way – I’m still learning to express my anger – but my head hurt so much! I thought but didn’t say (oh, how I wish I had) – “Well, isn’t that what you’re supposed to tell me? You’re the doctor!” Instead, I calmly mumbled, “How do I know?” He then asked the same thing but in a very different way, and it broke through the cotton balls and waterfall.

“If the depression was gone – if you weren’t feeling really sad, would you still feel anxious? Or if the anxiety was gone, would you still feel super sad?” That was easy to answer. “The second one.”

“Ok,” he said, “then you have depression.” And he wrote out a script and I took it and left the office.

As I walked down the hallway to leave, still looking through the waterfall of my migraine, my therapist was standing at the front desk – I think he had stayed late to see how it went for me with the doc. I smiled weakly through my headache and told him I was really glad he was there. It was good to see the face of someone who knew what I was feeling, and I didn’t have to say anything.